Fists go up, suspensions come down

Well, obviously the message has gotten through.
The NHL put the hammer down on Todd Bertuzzi—suspended for the rest of the season, including playoffs, with the possibility of more games next season (if there is a next season). And that was the message to the rest of the NHL to slow things down and think things through.
Last month, the Canucks were howling for revenge after Steve Moore knocked Markus Naslund into his first career concussion. The incident also had Naslund calling for more respect in the game—even as his teammates were publicly announcing there was a hit out on Moore.
It could have been stopped then.
At the beginning of this month, Philadelphia GM Bobby Clarke, an old “Broad Street Bully” himself, decided to threaten Jacques Martin after a particularly rough game between the Flyers and Senators—going down to the dressing room and calling him out.
It could have been stopped after that game.
Then Steve Moore went into the hospital and everyone started discussing how things had to change.
This past weekend, the NHL had to suspend five more people.
Darryl Sutter and Krystof Oliwa of the Flames are gone after a fight that started as the final buzzer sounded Saturday night. Such respect was shown by Sutter that the CBC had to quickly turn off the microphone on the glass between the benches while he swore away at anybody within earshot.
Oliwa’s suspension was for abuse of officials.
Nobody in that game got penalized for the fight that took place.
On Tuesday the Flames’ Chris Simon was suspended for two games and fined $36,585.37 for kneeing Sergei Zubov. The money will go towards the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund, which helps players and alumni in cases of medical emergencies.
Wade Belak of the Toronto Maple Leafs was handed eight games, including two in the playoffs, for hitting Ossi Vaananen in the head with his stick, though Belak said he was off balance and the hit was an accident.
He thought the suspension was a little harsh.
Finally, Mark Messier was given a match penalty and a two-game suspension for spearing and intent to injure after seeing how far he could shove his stick into Martin Strbak’s stomach.
After the game, N.Y. Rangers coach Tom Renney said how unfortunate it was because they had to shorten their bench when Messier got his misconduct.
Colin Campbell, the man designated to hand down these punishments, seems to have been busier than ever since what is now being called the “Bertuzzi incident.”
Meanwhile, Steve Moore is set to be released from the hospital, though doctors can’t say whether or not he’ll ever play hockey again.
By the way things currently stand, I’m getting the feeling that a lot of people could easily live without the NHL next year. Most of us could do without wondering if that guy is going to get up so we can applaud politely.

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